Economy

(New York)

Retail has been doing great lately and may be poised to continue its gains. However, the best way to play the sector might not be to buy retail stocks. Instead, consider buying real estate stocks that would gain from retail’s success. With that in mind, Barron’s has run a piece choosing seven real estate stocks that will benefit from retail’s growth: Simon Property Group, Link REIT, Brixmor Property Group, Public Storage, and Mid-America Apartment Communities.


FINSUM: Make no mistake, these are deeply contrarian bets given the challenges mall and other retail REITs are facing. That said, if the strategy works, it may do so in a big way.

(New York)

One of the important elements of last year’s tax changes that has not been covered much by the mainstream financial press is the way in which the new tax code proves a big boon for REITs. That big gain is that the effective tax rate on REITs has been slashed from 37% to just 29.6%, a big move downward. One REIT industry expert summed up the changes this way, saying “Now, REITs have even more of an advantage over fixed-income products … Seventy percent of REIT returns have historically come from income, so any relative pickup in income is a big benefit for investors”.


FINSUM: This seems like a big help to REIT investors, and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time given that rate rises will inevitable hurt REITs a bit.

(Washington)

Fed minutes released yesterday showed that the Fed was closer to raising rates than many expected, which is lifting expectations that the central bank could hike before the end of the year. Three members wanted to raise rates immediately, but they were held off in a “close call”. The big consideration is the job market and whether it had strengthened enough to push inflation towards the Fed’s 2% goal. However, the other two considerations are harder to measure—the market’s preparedness for a hike, and how the US election might affect the economy. On the first point, the Fed even explicitly discussed the market’s odds that it would hike in September, a point that does not always show up in Fed minutes. The market thinks there is about a 65% chance the Fed will hike by the end of the year, but November looks unlikely because the meeting is the week before the presidential election. But depending on how that goes, it could prove a big hindrance to a hike.


FINSUM: The only election situation in which we think the Fed will still hike this year is a Clinton presidential victory and a Republican congressional victory. Markets would react mutedly or favorably to that, which would not scare off the Fed. In any other scenario, which seems less likely right now, the Fed would likely be derailed.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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